In the wake of increasing pressure from parents and students, the government has decided to postpone the Class 10 Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination.
“The SSLC examinations slated to start from June 21 stands postponed,” said Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Wednesday. “The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the State, coupled with concerns of parents and students and many school associations, has resulted in this decision.”
The exams were was slated to be held from June 21 to July 5, and until recently the government was hesitant to postpone it in the hope that the pandemic would show signs of easing by May-end. “A suitable call will be taken after the second wave of COVID-19 dies down,” said the minister in a statement. He also emphasised that the revised dates will be announced much ahead of schedule to give students time to prepare.
Earlier this month, the government had announced its decision to postpone the Second Pre-University Class 12 examination, which was originally scheduled to begin on May 24. On Wednesday, the Karnataka Examinations Authority said the Common Entrance Test for admission to professional courses would be conducted on August 28 and 29, instead of July.
Relief to parents
The government’s decision to postpone the Class 10 board examination has come as a relief to parents and students. However, some students expressed their frustration and helplessness as the academic schedule has once again been thrown out of gear.
Welcoming the decision, D. Shashi Kumar from the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said it was the correct decision, given the spike in cases. “Health should be prioritised now, and we thank the Minister for taking this decision,” he said.
He added that teaching and non-teaching staff of the various private schools would cooperate and work with the department whenever the new dates are announced for the smooth conduct of SSLC examinations.
Seroprevalence among children
Many parents are also worried about predictions that children will be especially vulnerable to a third wave of COVID-19.
The Karnataka Private School Managements, Teaching and Non Teaching Staff Coordination Committee has written to the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee to conduct a seroprevalence survey among children. This, they said, will help them estimate the prevalence of antibodies of children during the second wave.
The committee stated that it was important to do so in light of reports that there will be a third wave which would have serious academic consequences on students. Members pointed out that schools have been shut for more than a year and taking a decision on future course of action should be taken on the basis of this survey.